Well some wins and more losses, Week 3 ORC

Slow Progress

Slow Progress

Yeah so the headaches continue. Is it because I am pregnant or do some DIY’s just don’t go as planned for others too? Cause I know this is my first rodeo in many regards but I do feel a bit like Camus pushing the giant boulder up a hill, except I’m doing it 6 months pregnant and way more out of shape. This week we got the hardware on with the help of a friend, thank you Charlie! It looks amazing BUT even after the sealing we got hairline cracks where they were installed. It’s only noticeable close up but I will have to touch that up eventually (as in like maybe next year). Even though we pre-drilled the holes and then affixed them the old fashioned way (with a screwdriver) to be as gentle as possible we still got them so that was rather frustrating. We also got the walls sanded and painted where we ripped down the cabinets and even that had a few bumps! One small area must have had a strange sealer cause paint literally peeled off like plastic. Only this would happen to me! On the other hand I will say the natural sealer I talked about in the previous post seems to have stopped the chips! So one small win.

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Now to the migraine. These floors! My orginal plan was paint & stencil. Only after some thought I really don’t want to cover up the nature texture of the travertine. No, it's not in the best shape but I do not mind the character, I just mind the yellowish color especially when my countertops have that and I can’t get rid of them… yet. So I read some bloggers (and by some I mean like 2) having success with staining travertine since it is such a pourous natural material. They mentioned actual wood stains penetrating better than those made for stone so I went to the source and just got a straight up undiluted black dye that also was fairly non-toxic. WELL when I diluted it turned PURPLE, cue me crying. Purple floor no thank you! So then I went with the straight dye and well that was a winner! UNTIL after curing for 24 hours one drop of water and it came right up. Cue more crying. 

Ughh Purple, Yay black, no water :(

Ughh Purple, Yay black, no water :(

Now I have not tried to seal my experiment tiles but I am not very confident that it will prevent the dye from lifting either are two professionals I talked to. Also the sealer is pretty damn toxic and I hate respirator masks and the whole growing a human things turns me off from that since the tiles were sealed previously its truly not necessary and would mean my first step would be to remove the old sealer with acetone prior to adding the dye also pretty toxic. So now I am sort of back to square 1. I think my hunch to try and keep the natural stone texture is the right call. If you like at my inspo images from Devol Kitchens they don’t do fancy patterned tiles they go classic and I already have that I just don’t have the right color. I feel setback a week now with trying to come up with another game plan so if you have any advice for me I will gladly take it! That is my wrap up for week 2  for the spring 2019 One Room Challenge and click the link to see that of the other guest participants as well as the featured designers.

How do I get my floors like one of these  Devol Kitchen  floors?

How do I get my floors like one of these Devol Kitchen floors?


"The cabinets are done, Man"- Week 2 ORC

Cabinets painted

Cabinets painted

Can you name that 80’s movie reference in the title? Hint it stars Christina Applegate. Anyway it’s a bit misleading as I haven’t affixed the hardware yet. But we removed an entire side of cabinets to make way for some open shelves and it felt infinitely better in this kitchen, much brighter and more open. In discussing my plans I had numerous “Will you have enough storage?” comments. I have been living in apartments as small as 233 sq ft most of my adult life to our recent rental at 900 sq ft that had literally 3 working drawers. I unpacked everything including having an entire spice drawer (a luxury you should try) and still have two drawers and a set cabinets empty without the open shelves up, so answer is no and if I did I would worry I had too much stuff. And more on topic I also finalized the colors for the space which are:

Walls-Sherwin Williams Alabaster

Cabinets- Sherwin Williams Shitake

Bench-Sherwin Williams Pewter Green (or so I think )

Window Trim- Sherwin Williams Tricorn black


Now I am not going to lie. If I had my way I would have redone the entire kitchen but that was not in the plan so I had to actually implement my own designs vs handing them off to a contractor and checking in. I’ve done lots of smaller DIY’s but this was my first time doing anything like this and it was a HUGE learning curve that was the biggest pain my butt and I hope to provide you with some tips to avoid all the headache I went thru so instead of what I did, I’m going to tell you what I should have done. Now keep in mind my cabinets came pre-finished. If you are lucky enough to realy wood cabinets and not cheap compressed wood ones this process will like go much smoother when it comes to painting but you may need to replace hinges , etc.

CABINET TIPS (Or what I wish I had known):

  • Buy a spray gun (really kicking myself for not buying one)!

  • Remove all the cabinets and do as much as you can with them before reattaching including sealer

  • Remove hardware and use wood filler (I like this one) on any holes if replacing the current hardware size

  • Sand with an orbital sander

  • Prime with at least 2 coats using a foam roller and allow for proper dry time, don’t rush it. Now I should of researched more seems an oil based primer would of been a better choice than the latex I used but a big mistake I made was listening the “experts” at Sherwin Williams rather than doing more research on the topic.

  • Paint the cabinets and if you are smart you will do it with a spray gun, don’t be me. Even if you just do the fronts, and leave the frames to do with a roller, it will be so much faster and so much more even. Our shakers were a big ole pain so if you have any grooves etc you want the gun trust me. Have I nailed this in to your head enough?

  • Now here is what I wasn’t told and what I wish I had of known. Seal them. I was told the fancy expensive paint would be just fine but I was getting small chips almost immediately after a full week of curing prior to us even being in the home. This just shouldn’t happen and while my experience may not be typical why not get the extra protection in a space that takes a lot of wear and tear. Luckily the blog world came to my rescue and I found an amazing natural sealer that is made from a by product of whey. Yup you can seal you cabinets with cheese, well kind of.  And you don’t have to wear a mask really so super bonus. I have it from good sources this stuff is the least likely of any sealer to yellow. But if you are doing white it may still pick up some yellow tint eventually but nothing close to what it would be with the cheaper run of the mill stuff. I did 2 coats allowing a full 24 hours between them. One other tip I learned is that had I had the gun it would have gone on nice and smooth but my first coat went on streaky till I went out and bought a fancy natural bristle brush. So natural finish with natural bristle was the winning combo for me.

  • Allow the sealer to cure fully and attach hardware and hopefully, now that you bought the gun I didn’t you have done it in way less time than it took me.

So what was a huge headache for me in my first go at DIY home improvement will hopefully be what keeps you from needing a bottle of Advil in your cabinet adventures. In the midst of my cabinet induced migraine I have decided to revise my original plan of stenciling our travertine floor tiles. First I couldn’t find many companies who do custom and one that said they did then took my money and AFTER told me basically my design idea was impossible to execute, it was based on actual 1930’s tile floor pattern. I did get a refund but it was a bit annoying. Second I like the texture of the travertine. Paint would have just really taken that away from the natural stone, it’s the color I don’t like not the material. So new plan for this week is to use some tiles I found buried in the garage and test staining the travertine dark or as close to black as I can get them with out causing myself an aneurysm. I love the idea of dark contrasts and the fact it could (pretty please universe) come out looking more like a darker stone, say a granite or a limestone, fits inline with the that Devol Kitchen look I am going for. Third if cabinets didn’t hold up in the first week no way I am risking a kitchen floor that leads to our yard with a a dog and toddler. Also on the agenda this week is to add the hardware that I just got in and is super gorgeous and I’m so excited to see in action.

There you have it my wrap up for week 2 for the spring 2019 One Room Challenge and click the link to see that of the other guest participants as well as the featured designers. If you have any questions please feel free to let me know in comments or via email! And since you totally are still wondering what 80’s movie I meant, here you go. Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter is Dead.

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ORC Spring 2019 - Our Eat In Kitchen

Well, folks I’m taking the plunge head first as a guest participant in the One Room Challenge and am incredibly excited as well as a bit overwhelmed, considering I moved into our first home less than a week ago! The thing with this home is we bought it without a doubt for the location and the yard. Both really couldn’t be beat for our needs. While I would love a true fixer upper this place is more of a refresher. It’s been updated but the style is already outdated, think late 90’s early 2000s even though it was probably done in the last 6-8 years. Given that we just spent our life savings this ORC is all about working with what you have.  While we were hoping for a more open concept I was happy to see how wide this was for a galley and how large of a space there was for a breakfast nook. I was also excited to see the existing cabinets were shaker style and that to me was very doable. Also while the backsplash and floors are colors I would never choose their texture suits me and so I was relieved to feel like all of this was workable without any major renovations but just some DIYs. Plus a place for a chandelier and a pair sconces had me excited for the possibilities to make my mark on a home for the first time being a life long renter previously.

The outdated kitchen from our new home

The outdated kitchen from our new home

What to address first? The cabinets obviously. They are too dark and they are cramping the style of the lovely window. So we plan to take out all the uppers on the right side and replace those with open shelving then paint the rest and re-hardware them. No easy task but the cost is minimal comparatively and while it takes work its more elbow grease than hiring a contractor. What we will have to keep is the counters, they’re granite and in great condition so while a far cry from my dream of quartzite or marble, for now the goal is to draw your eye away from their yellowy brown look. Here are the plans for the kitchen which are heavily influenced on blending my love of English charm, which happens to be where my husband is from, and our mutual love of classic clean design with a twist. In short I am heavily influenced by the incomparable Devol Kitchens.

Kitchen Design Plans

Kitchen Design Plans

For the generous breakfast nook I will be building a large bench under a window against the wall so I can accommodate, the probably too big for the space, but HOLY AMAZING vintage Baker Furniture Neo-Classical dining table that I scored for under $200. It's a beast but it can accommodate from 6-12 people which will come in handy when we celebrate the holidays etc. While she needs some TLC I love the idea of having a vintage piece that I can use as the main staple to this space and have the rest of the elements be a more modern version of some classic designs like some black Windsor chairs or a chandelier inspired by the great MCM designer Florian Schulz. It the end this space will encompass what I am all about. Which is not having one style but layering many seamlessly to create one of kind yet classic designs.  I design less for buzz words or trends but more for a reflection of who the people who live in our home are and I hope to show you that.

Breakfast Nook Plans

Breakfast Nook Plans

So there you have it. My plans for the spring 2019 One Room Challenge and click the link to see that of the other guest participants as well as the featured designers.  It's a large undertaking but I already have on hand some amazing brands that as a designer I have come to know and love on board to help me execute it. I feel honored they have entrusted me to show off what I have long respected about them in their use with clients into my own home. I hope you enjoy this journey with me and that I can impart some wisdom as you rethink your own home and how we can up-cycle and refresh what we have without losing sight of the dreams we had for our homes.


GH 2018 Holiday Gift Guides

Well folks if you are like me you enjoy the long holiday weekend ditching everything and anything labeled Black Friday and look forward to a Cyber Monday as a way to avoid the crowds but still score some deals. And to get you on your way I have rounded up my top gifts for him, for her and for little ones. I have included small businesses, big brands, and quite a few shops that give back! From your big gifts to stocking stuffers I got you covered!

Shop the board  HERE

Shop the board HERE

When it comes to keeping your home from looking like the children took over is to stick with the larger items in neutral colors than you can avoid having your spaces look like a classroom instead of a home. And when it comes to toys if you buy cute toys than you won’t mind if they are left out!

Shop these gifts  HERE

Shop these gifts HERE

Whether you are like me and don’t know what you want for yourself or you are looking for the besties/ sister/ mom any special women in your life here are some picks to get you started from healing energy jewelry to self care at home with essential oils and face masks. I always like to include one or two items that put a handmade stamp on the holiday like a mudcloth pillow to brighten up her work chair or reading nook and a cozy scarf that doubles as a work of art!

Shop HIS over  HERE

Shop HIS over HERE

And when it comes to the men that get us going or keep us going whether its your father, brother or boyfriend find some special gifts that let him feel like the man he is. Think leather and items that encourage him to get outdoors. Nothing says “I love you Honey” like some strong coffee and whiskey!

Happy gifting and don’t forget something yourself! And if there is any kind of guides you would like to see in the future let me know in the comments!